HIV/AIDS and sexual behaviour among youth in Zambia

Type Journal Article - Health Transition Review
Title HIV/AIDS and sexual behaviour among youth in Zambia
Volume 7
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1997
Page numbers 91-95
This study was carried out in selected urban areas in Zambia in the area along the major rail links between the urban areas of Lusaka, Kabwe, Kitwe and Ndola. The objective of the study was to ascertain the influence of socio-economic, demographic and cultural correlates on the sexual networking and activities of the youth in selected towns of Zambia: specifically to determine how sexual behaviour among young people might influence the course of the AIDS epidemic and also to suggest policy interventions. Sexual behaviour among young people both in-school and out-ofschool, aged between 12 and 25, may be vital in influencing the spread of AIDS in Zambia. The results indicate that sexual matters are discussed with close friends of the same sex and peer group, or with cousins who are of the same age. Sometimes grandmothers are consulted for advice by co-resident grand-daughters. Girls and boys engaged in sex or thought about engaging in sex at quite an early age. Girls discussed their intentions about sex with their close friends, many of whom appeared poorly informed about sex themselves. The general views of both sexes about STDs should be a source of concern. The youth do not seem to take STDs seriously basically because most of them, aside from AIDS, are curable. Many young people do not regard AIDS as a threat to their lives and do not even consider it as a hindrance to sexual relationships. There should be programs to inform parents and guardians on the importance of educating their children about sex and AIDS, through radio and television as well as through seminars and workshops. There should be campaigns on condom use, not just for prevention of pregnancy, but also for the prevention of STDs. Information and discussion of condom use with partners can be given, more elaborate education on STDs and their link to AIDS. Sex education should be intensified in the schools and teachers should be encouraged to give appropriate advice.

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